The stakes are higher, so take some steps to protect your workers and your organization.
Starting on January 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) raised civil monetary penalties for violating federal minimum wage, overtime, posting, and safety requirements. These penalties apply to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) occurring after November 2, 2015. Take a minute to review and shore up any practices, postings, or protocols that could put you at risk.
Here’s what you need to know about the final rule regarding these changes:
FLSA. The maximum penalty for repeated and willful violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions increased from $1,964 to $2,014.
FMLA. Every FMLA-covered employer must conspicuously post a notice explaining the statute’s provisions and detailing information for filing violation complaints. The final rule has increased the maximum penalty for failing to comply with the posting requirements from $169 to $173.
OSH Act. The final rule increased the maximum penalty for serious, other-than-serious, and posting violations, as well as failures to abate violations, from $12,934 to $13,260 per violation. The minimum and maximum penalties for willful violations increased from $9,239 to $9,472 and from $129,336 to $132,598, respectively. The maximum penalty for repeated violations also went from $129,336 to $132,598.
Make sure you tie up any loose ends that could put your organization at risk of violations. Note that the final rule doesn’t change an employer’s duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and the agency will continue to seek these forms as necessary via inspections and enforcement actions.
OHSA Form 301 is the incident reports employers must complete for any recordable work-related injury or illness that occurs. According to the DOL, “Within 7 calendar days after you receive information that a recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred, you must fill out this form or an equivalent. Some state workers’ compensation, insurance, or other reports may be acceptable substitutes. To be considered an equivalent form, any substitute must contain all the information asked for on [Form 301].”
Employers also must log work-related incidents on OSHA Form 300. The log must include “information about every work-related death and about every work-related injury or illness that involves loss of consciousness, restricted work activity or job transfer, days away from work, or medical treatment beyond first aid.
Of course, prevention is always a top priority. For instance, reduce winter weather-related accidents or injuries by promptly clearing parking lots and sidewalks, salting and/or blocking off slippery or otherwise unsafe outside surfaces, and keeping floors dry and clear. Mark off hazardous areas, using temporary signs, cones, or barricades. Ensure all outside lights are in working order.